Thymoquinone suppression of the human hepatocellular carcinoma cell growth involves inhibition of IL-8 expression, elevated levels of TRAIL receptors, oxidative stress and apoptosis

Journal Article
Rishi, Abdelkader E. Ashour, Adel R. Abd-Allah, Hesham M. Korashy, Sabry M. Attia, Abdelrahman Z. Alzahrani, Quaiser Saquib, Saleh A. Bakheet, Hala E. Abdel-Hamied, Shazia Jamal, Arun K. . 2014
Publication Work Type: 
KSU Research Work
Magazine \ Newspaper: 
Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
Issue Number: 
1-2
Volume Number: 
389
Pages: 
85-98
Publication Abstract: 

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fourth most common solid tumor worldwide. The chemokine interleukin-8 (IL-8) is overexpressed in HCC and is a potential target for therapy. Although the transcription factor NF-κB regulates IL-8 expression, and while thymoquinone (TQ; the most bioactive constituent of black seed oil) inhibits NF-κB activity, the precise mechanisms by which TQ regulates IL-8 and cancer cell growth remain to be clarified. Here, we report that TQ inhibited growth of HCC cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, caused G2M cell cycle arrest, and stimulated apoptosis. Apoptosis was substantiated by activation of caspase-3 and -9, as well as cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase. TQ treatments inhibited expression of NF-κB and suppressed IL-8 and its receptors. TQ treatments caused increased levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mRNAs of oxidative stress-related genes, NQO1 and HO-1. Pretreatment of HepG2 cells with N-acetylcysteine, a scavenger of ROS, prevented TQ-induced cell death. TQ treatment stimulated mRNA expression of pro-apoptotic Bcl-xS and TRAIL death receptors, and inhibited expression of the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl-2. TQ enhanced TRAIL-induced death of HepG2 cells, in part by up-regulating TRAIL death receptors, inhibiting NF-κB and IL-8 and stimulating apoptosis. Altogether, these findings provide insights into the pleiotropic molecular mechanisms of TQ-dependent suppression of HCC cell growth and underscore potential of this compound as anti-HCC drug.